CBD, a compound found in cannabis that does not have psychoactive effects, is now legal to sell over the counter. But don’t expect to find any in your local pharmacy yet. Photograph: Anatoliy Sizov/Getty Images/iStockphoto
That CBD is found in a plant subject to three seperate United Nations treaties is not the only thing that sets it apart from other medicines. It also differs because “we’re really talking about generic actives,” says Huppert. Rather than developing a new drug for a specific purpose, CBD manufacturers will have to run clinical trials to find out which purposes an existing and widely used substance is actually effective for. Or, as McGregor puts it, “the exact opposite of most drug development”.
Bonomo emphasises the importance of quality control, saying that the upfront work is worth it in the long run. “For products to be listed on the ARTG, there is a process. It’s a complex process, but it’s a necessary process to make sure that those quality products do get listed.”
“If it’s going to be treated as a medicine, it needs to go through the processes medicines go through,” she says. “Other countries have used different pathways to make it available and they have different methods that aren’t as rigorous.”
CBD’s medicinal status in Australia is much different from the situation in other countries where the substance is available without a prescription, such as the UK and US. In the UK, low-dose CBD oil can be sold as a dietary supplement, but not a medicine. In the US, the substance is not approved on a federal level, but in some states it is possible to buy everything from pet food to bottled water to Martha Stewart branded gummies containing CBD. “You have this runaway train that’s way beyond the evidence available,” says McGregor.
Yes, medicinal CBD oil that is extracted from the cannabis plant is legal in Australia.
Low dosage CBD oil may not be effective at treating every medical condition, so it still recommended that you discuss this option with your doctor or a trained health professional.
What Do I Need To Buy Legal CBD Oil: Over The Counter Or Doctor’s Prescription?
CBD Oil is available to buy without a prescription at pharmacies across Australia. You can buy legally buy CBD oil in low doses without a medical prescription. For larger doses, you can talk to a doctor who can prescribe CBD oil to you. CBD available without a prescription, over the counter, is legally sold in 150mg/day CBD oil doses.
Your local doctor or general practitioner (GP) can prescribe CBD oil to you without approval from the TGA.
Legal CBD oil is available for patients in Sydney who either have a prescription, or you can purchase low-dosage forms of CBD from pharmacies.
Fortunately, no – the current CBD laws are the same for each state. This is because the amendments made to the Narcotics Drug Act (1967) by the Office of Drug Control in 2016 were made on a federal level. Meaning they automatically apply to all states.
If you go through your GP, they will apply for your prescription via the Special Access Scheme (SAS). The time frame of this varies, but the government has been working on easing red tape surrounding the process following calls from many GPs.
Even though CBD has been legalised in Australia on a federal level, each state has its own guidance on the drug which can be helpful to read as well:
Accessing CBD oil
Please read our guide for more detailed information on how you can access CBD oil in Australia.
Before we dive in – if you aren’t 100% sure on what CBD is (it’s still quite new) check out this article – What is CBD? It’s a brief intro to the drug, where it comes from, and its potential benefits.
As of 2021 – yes, CBD is legal in Australia with a prescription. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has classed it as a Schedule 4 (S4) drug since 2016. However, it’s only legal if the CBD component of the oil is more than 98% concentration – meaning it has less than 2% of other cannabinoids found in cannabis.
There are currently two methods to get your hands on some CBD – the legal method and the illegal method. Legal access to CBD oil in Australia can be obtained by applying through your GP or via a clinic specialising in medical cannabis prescriptions.